The ‘Great Soap Experiment’ part two

Several months ago I started brushing my teeth with soap. Why?

Because I’m of Scottish background and I don’t enjoy paying dental bills. Nor do I find it pleasant to have dentists scraping plaque from my teeth every six months. Besides, a medical report said that soap not only removes plaque, but also stops cavities and protects gums. So how did my experiment turn out?

My first reaction to this report was, “Come on, Dr. Judd, you must be kidding! Who would ever brush their teeth with soap?”

But Dr. Gerald Judd was no nut. He was a retired Professor of chemistry at Purdue University. So since I admire people who challenge well-established theories that may be wrong, I didn’t toss his report into the waste paper basket. After some thought, what he said seemed to make sense.

Dr. Judd believed that it’s acid that destroys the tooth’s enamel and that cavities would vanish if people rinsed acids from their mouths quickly with tap water.

He also claimed that bacteria cannot damage the tooth’s hard outer enamel that is composed of calcium hydroxy phosphate. His proof was that bones and teeth are resistant to earth-bound organisms. He appeared to be right as we’ve all seen pictures of skeletons with teeth intact unearthed after hundreds of years.

But why soap to clean teeth?

Judd claimed that glycerine is present in all toothpastes and it is so sticky that it requires 27 washes to remove it. If teeth remain coated with glycerine and are not clean, enamel cannot be built up.

He added, “Soap, in addition to removing plaque, destroys bacteria and viruses.”

So why wouldn’t this penny-pinching Scot toss toothpaste into the trash?

But I was not the only one to stop using toothpaste. Many readers claim they too joined the experiment. But some had to stop because soap made them gag. I also received hundreds of e-mails asking, “What kind of soap?”

I didn’t scream out, “Just plain, ordinary, white bar soap” but wanted to after the first few dozen queries.

So what’s the result? I admit I hoped to hit a home run with this experiment as dentists suggested awards for me other than the Nobel Prize. So it grieves me that I can’t write a headline, “Dentists put out of business! No more scraping.” But although soap didn’t hit a home run, it did not strike out.

I kept my eye on a few easily observed lower front teeth, the incisors and the canine tooth, where plaque invariably forms. Soap, in my case, had no effect on keeping plaque off the canine tooth. But it was 90% effective on the incisors.

Why this was the case I have no idea.

Maybe I used the wrong soap. Olay happened to be in the bathroom. Many readers said they were using Ivory and other brands. But Dr. Judd indicated that any old, plain white bar soap would do. Unfortunately, Dr. Judd has died and I’ve never found a way to reach the departed.

But I wish I could ask him why soap for me isn’t the total answer. And I wonder if any readers got a home run with soap.

So what will I do? For one thing I doubt if I will ever use toothpaste again as it only required a few days to get used to the taste of soap. Besides, I no longer have to pack toothpaste when I travel. Soap is also cheap and available and that fits my Scottish heritage!

But this leaves me with a big question. Why was Dr. Judd so damn sure soap was the be-all-and-end-all to dental plaque? Since I’m not a dentist, or an Emeritus Professor of chemistry, I may never find out. But possibly there’s a genius among my readers who has the answer.

I’ll also continue using soap as it does not contain fluoride. I, along with Dr. Judd, believe that the fluoridation of water and the use of fluoride toothpaste is a useless, dangerous, biological poison.

So does Sweden, Germany, Norway, Holland, Denmark and France, not exactly backward nations.

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